The winter chill gently taps at the window. In the living room, the open fire crackles as you bask in the luxuriant heat. What could go wrong on a day like this? Probably nothing but have you been storing up enough bad habits to give you a post-Christmas hangover of epic proportions? The money saving elves have been on a covert Reconnaissance mission. Guess what they found? 12 festive shockers that will freeze you to the core.
Short of cash in the run up to Christmas? No problem; you can take out a payday loan to tide you over. There’s nothing wrong with a short term loan expect the interest rate. The realisation that many people can’t get a credit card, the loans companies leapt to ‘the rescue’. With interest rates of up to 4,000% you really do need to ask yourself if this is the best way to borrow money.
There’s Something Phishy About That Website!
Christmas is a time when we spend big. Sadly, the scammers know this. Phishing websites are out there, waiting like a shark in the depths ready to strike. Dramatic yes but so true. Scam emails hit your inbox every day. They promise everything from a stratospheric improvement in your sex life through fortunes in gold and hard cash courtesy of an, ‘Uncle Ahmed’ who named you as his sole beneficiary! Ignore those emails. Mark them as SPAM, set fire to them, etc but never, ever click a link.
If you do click a link don’t be tempted to enter your details into any site you are redirected to. Once the scammers have your personal details they’ll either empty your bank account or steal your identity and go on a spending spree. Oh and the bills will land on your doorstep!
Christmas is a time for charity and the bad guys know it! Before your charitable mood kicks in do you checks. Does the collector have an official badge? If so, does the badge have their photo on it? If in doubt, keep your money firmly in your pocket. It’s sad to say but there are some unscrupulous types out there who will take advantage of your good nature.
Please Sell Me A Warranty I Don’t Need
What’s on your amours list? A new iPad? Coffee perculator? Some yet uninvented gadget that will change the world (I have very imaginative children)? In that case, you’re going to need a warranty. Or, are you? It doesn’t matter if you buy online or in a store just make sure you keep your receipt. If you can prove that your new toy broke through no fault of your own then you’re entitled to get it replaced, repaired or your money refunded for up to a year.
Not so long ago, the world of Facebook was a target for all kinds of underhand goings on. Realising their reputation was at stake, the company implemented strict new rules and security measures to beat the cheats.
Unfortunately, those cheeky scamming chappies have found a way round the restricitions. Currently, in Australia, new victims are being conned by dubious adverts shown on the social networking site. The latest dodgy deal claims to offer site users discount vouchers for the Anti Virus company Sophos.. As you may have guessed, there isn’t a discount to be had. When the advert is clicked the visitor is asked to share the destination page with their Facebook friends but you’ll never get your voucher! This tactic helps to drive customers towards sites offering surveys for which the scammer gets paid.
During the early 2000’s e-cards saw a massive surge of popularity. Esitmates suggest that aoround 500 million e-cards are sent every year. There’s nothing wrong with sending an e-card but the scammers have polluted the world of festive greetings with their own dirty form of Christmas present: malware! When you click the link to see the card a website will attempt to download and install anything from malware to undesirable adverts. Be safe; hover your mouse over the link before you click and make sure the URL showing in your browser bar matches that of the, legitimate, sender.
One more tip to combat e-card related is to ensure your AntiVirus is installed and up to date (just don’t click on any of the Facebook links).
UPS Sent Me A Tracking Notification…
…how considerate of them. It’s nice to know that they’ve gone to the trouble of letting me know where my Christmas parcels are. Hold on! What parcels? They must have sent the email to the wrong person. No problem. I’ll simply click the link to the support desk and let them know (and, whilst your at it, why not just install some malware on your computer and let the world know?)
This underhand tactic is another way of getting malware to your computer or delivering you to a website that may not be family friendly! Same advice as I gave for e-cards applies: check the email address or URL in the toolbar against the one in the email.
…at this time of the year? “Are you insane?”, you ask. No. There New Year is approaching fast and many of you could well be considering a new career or job. The perfect time to start looking is during the run up to Christmas and, guess what? Scammers know this. Their army coders and content writes will be crafting email propositions that are simply too good to be true. “House wife earns millions from her living room!”, “Turn your computer into a cash-spewing internet marketing monster in three easy steps”, etc, etc. Sadly, the ‘work from home’ market has taken a real bashing thanks to these scammers. Many of them simply want you to shell out on get rich quick schemes which will not get you rich quick, if at all.
As and added bonus, once you’ve paid for that crappy ‘keep me poor’ scam you’re likely to have your credit card details stolen as well.
Not So Genuine Bargains
Fake and stolen goods are big business. If you’re using sites like eBay then stay well away from one day auctions especially when run by new sellers with no feedback. Miss a trick and you could see yourself answer to the Old Bill (by which time the seller will be long gone). Look at it another way: why would someone from Latvia (sorry, first country that came to mind) being selling a laptop on the UK market place with free shipping?
One Step Weight Loss
This scam is more prevalent following Christmas but you still need to be on your guard. Early in the New Year you’ll probably start receiving SPAM emails the have a secret for your eyes only. What is the secret? Instant weight loss, of course. Scammers know that, following the festive season, most of us are, err, slightly more rotund. They’ll use those every trick in the book to convince you that it’s time to shed some weight. Ignore them. There are few ways to really lose weight (as Slimmingworlders.com) will tell you.
12 Christmas hangovers to avoid. Will you be waking up on Christmas day bellowing ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ or ‘Oh no, no, no’? Merry Christmas to you all!